- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

NEW YORK | A massive project to redesign and rebuild the Internet from scratch is inching along with $12 million in government funding and donations of network capacity by two major research organizations.

Many researchers want to rethink the Internet’s underlying architecture, saying a “clean-slate” approach is the only way to truly address security and other challenges that have cropped up since the Internet’s birth in 1969.

On behalf of the government, BBN Technologies Inc. is overseeing the planning and design of the Global Environment for Network Innovations, or GENI, a network on which researchers will be able to test new ideas without damaging the current Internet.

The $12 million in initial grants from the National Science Foundation will go to developing prototypes for the GENI network.

To test these prototypes, the Internet2 organization is contributing 10 gigabits per second of dedicated bandwidth, so researchers won’t have to worry about normal Internet traffic interfering with their experiments. National LambdaRail is offering another 30 gigabits per second of capacity, although it won’t be dedicated to GENI at all times.

The bandwidth is thousands of times faster than standard home broadband connections - enough to run 30 high-quality movies into your home simultaneously.

Craig Partridge, chief scientist at BBN Technologies, said the commitments amounted to an important endorsement of GENI by two organizations that run ultra-high-speed networks for universities and other researchers to conduct data-intensive projects.

Construction on GENI could start in about five years and cost $350 million. Congress still has to approve those funds.

Yahoo offers coupons for music that stops working

NEW YORK | Yahoo Inc. is offering coupons or refunds to users who find songs they bought inaccessible after Sept. 30, when the company is shutting down its music-download service.

The decision to close the Yahoo Music Store added fuel to criticisms over copy-protection measures known as digital rights management, but Yahoo promised it won’t entirely abandon loyal customers.

The company said it is offering coupons on request for people to buy songs again through Yahoo’s new partner, RealNetworks Inc.’s Rhapsody. Those songs will be in the MP3 format, free of copy protection. Refunds are available for users who “have serious problems with this arrangement,” Yahoo said.

Spokeswoman Carrie Davis said a “small number” of users are affected by the change. Yahoo wouldn’t disclose the actual number.

Yahoo announced this year it was ceasing its online music subscription service and switching customers to Rhapsody. Subscriptions will continue at the same monthly rates for an unspecified period.

For people who bought songs outright - paying a one-time fee for a specific track rather than a continuing subscription for unlimited music - Yahoo will be shutting the digital rights management servers needed to verify eligibility. Copy-protection measures placed on the tracks require access to those servers when users buy a new computer or upgrade their operating system.

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